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merriment, or topick of invective. He was then able to discern, that, if misery be the effect of virtue, it ought to be reverenced ; if of ill-fortune, to be pitied ; and if of vice, not to be insulted, because it is perhaps itself a punishment adequate to the crime by which it was produced. And the humanity of that man can deserve no panegyrick, who is capable of reproaching a criminal in the hands of the executioner.
But these reflections, though they readily occurred to him in the first and last parts of his life, were, I am afraid, for a long time forgotten; at least they were, like many other maxims, treasured up in his mind, rather for thew than use, and operated very little upon his conduct, however elegantly he might sometimes explain, or however forcibly he might inculcate, them.
His degradation therefore from the condition which he had enjoyed with such wanton thoughtlessness, was considered by many as an occasion of triumph. Those who had before paid their court to him without success, foon returned the contempt which they had suffered; and they who had received favours from him, for of such favours as he could bestow he was very liberal, did not always remember them. So much more certain are the effects of resentment than of gratitude : it is not only to many more plealing to recollect those faults which place others below them, than those virtues by which they are themselves comparatively depressed; but it is likewise more easy to neglect, than to recompense; and though there are few who will practise a laborious yirtue, there will never be wanting multitudes that will indulge an easy vice.
Savage, however, was very little disturbed at the marks of contempt which his ill-fortune brought upon
him, from those whom he never esteemed, and with whom he never considered himself as levelled by any cala-mities : and though it was not without some uneasiness that he faw some, whose friendship he valued, change their behaviour ; he yet observed their coldness without much emotion, conlidered them as the flaves of fortune and the worshipers of prosperity, and was more inclined to despise them, than to lament himself.
It does not appear that, after this return of his wants, he found mankind equally favourable to him, as at his first appearance in the world. His story, though in reality not less melancholy, was less affecting, because it was no longer new; it therefore procured him no new friends; and those that had formerly relieved him, thought they might now consign him to others. He was now likewise considered by many rather as criminal, than as unhappy; for the friends of Lord Tyrconnel, and of his mother, were sufficiently industrious to publish his weaknesses, which were indeed very numerous; and nothing was forgotten, that might make him either hateful or ridiculous.
It cannot but be imagined, that such representations of his faults must make great numbers less sensible of his distress ; many, who had only an opportunity to hear one part, made no scruple to propagate the ac, count which they received; many assisted their circulation from malice or revenge; and perhaps many pretended to credit them, that they might with a better grace withdraw their regard, or withhold their allistance.
Savage however was not one of those, who suffered himself to be injured without resistance, nor was less diligent in exposing the faults of Lord Tyrconnel, oves
whom he obtained at least this advantage, that he drove him first to the practice of outrage and violence; for he was so much provoked by the wit and virulence of Savage, that he came with a number of attendants, that did no honour to his courage, to beat him at a coffee-house. But it happened that he had left the place a few minutes ; and his lordship had, without danger, the pleasure of boasting how he would have treated him. Mr. Savage went next day to repay his visit at his own house; but was prevailed on, by his domesticks, to retire without insisting upon seeing him.
Lord Tyrconnel was accused by Mr. Savage of some actions, which scarcely any provocations will be thought sufficient to justify; such as seizing what he had in his lodgings, and other instances of wanton cruelty, by which he increased the distress of Savage, without any advantage to himself.
These mutual accusations were retorted on both sides, for many years, with the utmost degree of virulence and rage; and time seemed rather to augment than diminish their resentment. That the anger of Mr. Savage should be kept alive, is not strange, because he felt every day the consequences of the quarrel ; but it might reasonably have been hoped, that Lord Tyrconnel might have relented, and at length have forgot those provocations, which, however they might have once inflamed him, had not in reality much hurt him.
The spirit of Mr. Savage indeed never suffered him to solicit a reconciliation; he returned reproach for reproach, and insult for insult; his superiority of wit supplied the disadvantages of his fortune, and enabled him to form a party, and prejudice great numbers in his favour.
But though this might be some gratification of his vanity, it afforded very little relief to his neceffities; and he was very frequently reduced to uncommon hardships, of which, however, he never made any mean or importunate complaints, being formed rather to bear misery with fortitude, than enjoy prosperity with moderation.
He now thought himself again at liberty to expoft the cruelty of his mother, and therefore, I believe, about this time, published The Bastard, a poem remarkable for the vivacious sallies of thought in the beginning, where he makes a pompous enumeration of the imaginary advantages of base birth; and the pathetick fentiments at the end, where he recounts the real calamities which he fuffered by the crime of his parents.
The vigour and spirit of the verses, the peculiar circumstances of the author, the novelty of the fubject, and the notoriety of the story to which the allusions are made, procured this performance a very favourable reception; great numbers were immediately difperfed, and editions were multiplied with unusual rapidity.
One circumstance attended the publication, which Savage used to relate with great fatisfaction. His mother, to whom the poem was with « due reverence" infcribed, happened then to be at Bath, where the could not conveniently retire from censure, or conceal herself from observation; and no sooner did the reputation of the poem begin to spread, than the heard it repeated in all places of concourse, nor could the enter the assembly-rooms or cross the walks, without being faluted with some lines from The Baftard.
This was perhaps the first time that ever she discovered a sense of shame, and on this occasion the power of wit was very conspicuous; the wretch who had, without scruple, proclaimed herself an adulteress, and who had first endeavoured to starve her son, then to transport him, and afterwards to hang him, was not able to bear the representation of her own conduct; but fled from reproach, though she felt no pain from guilt, and left Bath with the utmost haste, to shelter herself among
the crowds of London. Thus Savage had the satisfaction of finding, that, though he could not reform his mother, he could punish her, and that he did not always suffer alone.
The pleasure which he received from this increase of his poetical reputation, was sufficient for some time to overbalance the miseries of want, which this performance did not much alleviate ; for it was sold for a very trivial sum to a bookseller, who, though the fuccess was so uncommon that five impressions were sold, of which many were undoubtedly very numerous, had not generosity fufficient to admit the unhappy writer to any part of the profit.
The sale of this poem was always mentioned by Mr. Savage with the utmost elevation of heart, and referred to by him as an incontestable proof of a general acknowledgement of his abilities. It was indeed the only production of which he could justly boast a general reception.
But though he did not lose the opportunity which success gave him, of setting a high rate on his abilities, but paid due deference to the fuffrages of mankind when they were given in his favour, he did not suffer his esteem of himself to depend upon others, nor found